Florida Coastal Office

National Estuarine Research Reserves

The National Estuarine Research Reserves System conducts long term research in designated estuarine ecosystems in order to make the best coastal science available to decision makers.  The long-term research works to address current and potential problems that could degrade the coastal resources as a result of the increasing demand of resources.  Additionally, this research is used to fill gaps of knowledge and guide natural resource conservation so estuaries can sustain multiple users in the future.  The Reserves also provide a framework for management approaches, research results, and techniques for estuarine education and interpretation that can be shared with other programs as well.

The goals of the estuarine research reserves systems are to ensure a stable environment for long term research, address coastal management issues, enhance public awareness and understanding of these estuaries, promote federal, state, public and private use of reserves to conduct research and make information available that is necessary to improve understanding of management of estuarine areas.

Aquatic preserves

Aquatic Preserves are sovereign submerged lands protected under the Aquatic Preserve Act of 1975.  There are 41 aquatic preserves in Florida totaling about 2.7 million acres.  The preserves protect bird rookeries, fish nurseries, freshwater springs, salt marshes, mangroves and sea grass meadows. Some preserves contain cultural heritage sites of civilization that lived there for a time.  While the preserves protect the beauty and landscape, visitors are encouraged to enjoy swimming, fishing, boating and paddling in designated areas.

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